The Half-Orc Report: Prepare for Trouble…

Wizards of the Coast has announced that 2020 is getting even crazier with a new Masters Set, Double Masters. The product has a unique selling point that each pack will rock 2 rares and 2 foils of any rarity.  Early spoilers suggest that the set is going to be filled to brim with goodies for the commander format, yet I’m pretty pessimistic about the set as a whole.

And make Wallet Fatigue Double

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I don’t think 2020 is going to go down as the year of commander, but rather as the year of wallet fatigue. We still have 2 standard sets, 4 more commander decks, 5 planeswalker decks,Commander Legends, Commander Collection Green, Signature Spellbook Chandra, Jumpstart, The June Secret Lair Drop(s), Secret Lair Ultimate edition (technically not out yet despite being essentially sold out) Secret Lair: Wizards of the Coast Presents: After Great Deliberation, We Have Compiled and Remastered the Greatest Magic: The Gathering Cards of All Time, Ever,(to be released in LGS) A currently unknown product that reprints the fetchlands, any other secret lairs that haven’t been announced yet, Magic Arena Starter Kit, and a variety of tangentially related products, games and services (Such as Magic: The Gathering – Legends, D&D Mythic Odysseys of Theros, and The Art of Magic: The Gathering – War of the Spark) That’s not even considering all the products that have already come out this year ( 9 secret lairs, Mystery Boosters retail edition, Unsaction, 2 standard sets, 4 challenger decks, 5 commander decks and whatever else I missed)

Let’s compare all of this to what we got in 2017 We got 4 Standard sets (and 8 Planeswalker Decks), 2 Master Sets, Unstable, FTV Transformations, 2 duel decks, 4 commander decks, and 2 Magic sealed game box products (Explorers of Ixalian and Archenemy Nicol Bolas). Why is it that the year with two Masters sets feels less bloated than 2020?  Certainly wizards could have done fewer products this year.  We’re going to get the Core 2021 right before Double Masters and Zendikar Rising shortly thereafter. I’m going to run out of room to store all this at the rate they are going.

Protecting the Consumer from Fetchland Disappointment

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Wizards wanted to make sure people got disappointed nice and early this time, so they confirmed that the biggest reprint set of the year will not contain the most requested set of cards for reprinting. This leaves the second round of fetchland reprints up in the air. At this point it is looking more and more like the coming “reprint” is going to be another SLUE (Secret Lair Ultimate Edition). The problem with SLUE’s as stated in an earlier article is that they don’t do anything that people want out of reprints. I guess it’s possible that fetchlands are the rare land cycle in Commander Legends, but that seems a bit out there. I swear they’re going to do a “Land Masters” set; it’s not going to contain fetchlands.

When we go back to Ravnica we get the shock lands, second in power only to the OG duels, but if we go Zendikar we can’t possibly see them in set due to their power level. (Though fetchlands haven’t been ruled out as expeditions) Maybe the reason Wizards is reluctant to reprint them is that an intern accidentally added them to the pre 2010 reserved list so the only way they can reprint is in a SLUE. Fetchlands being “pseudo reserve list” is really the only reason I can think of that makes some level of ration sense to not print them like a Sol Ring gets printed. Sol Ring always adds like 5 dollars of value to every commander precon and is generally considered to be as necessary for a commander deck to have as fetchlands are for a modern, legacy, vintage, and CEDH decks.(Arguably more necessary if you want to play something that isn’t burn or tron.) At this point I hope the set has at least Prismatic Vista since it would be something.

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No United Price Point is the Wizard’s Declaration

There certainly has been a fair amount of speculation on where booster pack prices for Double Masters will settle down to when we reach release date. I want to preface this section with a reminder that it really is too early to be looking into the price of the product. We have only seen what are probably the 5 most expensive cards in the set so far (give or take 3-5 cards). In addition, nothing is stopping any of the cards printed in Double Masters from also showing up in Commander Legends. (Given that all we know about CL is that it has 70 new legendary creatures) Should that happen, demand for said single won’t push the price up anymore.

The only reason to lock in early is if you like drafting masters sets and . I think this Masters set will be in the middle closer to Iconic Masters in terms of reception (and initial price) than Ultimate Masters. I think that they won’t be able to help themselves from filling the uncommon and rare slots with “thematic cards” like Two-Headed Giant, Two-Headed Sliver and so on. The other wild card is the “VIP” boosters. I think that the VIP boosters could potentially draw enough attention away from the main set and help keep the prices down in a similar fashion to what collectors boosters are doing for the draft packs. Of course this is still a masters set so we can expect a price well above the 4 dollar price point that made the mystery booster box so beloved. (At least while it was in stock, now it’s like 7-10 bucks a pack)

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With that being said, I am seeing a lot of negativity online that this is going to be a product that gets raised well above Masters set “MSRP”. We already have Amazon which is selling a box for 300, 3 packs for 35 and one pack for 16. (Compare this to Masters 25 which had a 9.99 a pack MSRP or 34.99 for 3 packs of Ultimate Masters MSRP). If we treat the pre orders from Amazon (who sells directly from Wizards) as the MSRP we can see that we are still somewhere in the ballpark for other “Master line products”. The question is will we see prices go higher than this around release? I think that if what we have seen isn’t the top of the box, but rather a sampling of what is to come then there is a decent chance that LGS will be forced to meet the market price if they want to keep it in stock.

After all if your LGS doesn’t raise the price on the product, then someone else will buy them out and do it for them. The box topper alternate arts might force the price of sealed boxes up all on their own regardless of whatever else is in the set. (The Blightsteel Colossus looks soooo good, it’s probably my favorite artwork in the set so far, and will probably pay for anywhere from ⅓ to ½ the box price based on current market value of the Blightsteel foil).  Another thing to consider is with  double rares in each pack the odds of pulling the chase rare(s) will be better since even though there are more rares in the set, there aren’t twice as many, which will drop the price of singles and raise the price of packs (which is probably a fair trade off)

Blasting off at the Speed of Light

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To summarize my concerns about Double Masters: Do we really need it right now? Reprints are always welcome, don’t get me wrong, but what was in Theros Beyond Death? Like that was one standard set ago and it feels more ancient than ancient Greece. I wish wizards would stop teasing the fetchland reprint and get on with it already. Overall, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds sometime this July ( probably like 0-1 week(s) after Core 21 comes out).  What cards are you hoping to see in Double Masters? Is Wizards printing too many sets? Is a lack of fetchlands a deal breaker for you? Let me know in the comments or on the TuesdayTastic Discord!

“The Half-Orc Report is an opinionated look at MTG news written by SillyHalfOrc. To get direct access to the author, consider supporting OnlyOnTuesdays on Patreon to access the community Discord for just 1 dollar a month”

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